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Constructive discharge and its impact on unemployment eligibility

As an employee, you want your workplace to be a safe and inclusive environment where your coworkers conduct themselves in an ethical manner. If your experience is less than that, you may decide that your talents are better applied somewhere else. Depending upon the specific facts, your separation could be a constructive discharge in Texas.

What is constructive discharge?

Constructive discharge is a form of involuntary separation from your employment. What is unique to a constructive termination is that the employee voluntarily resigns from their position, but if the employee can show that the conditions their employer forced them to work under meet certain legal standards, they could still receive unemployment benefits. Some workplace conditions that warrant constructive discharge are:

• Discrimination
• Employer retaliation
• Unwarranted demotion or pay decrease
• Lack of disability accommodations

Elements of constructive dismissal

In order to prove that you had no choice but to leave your job, you must establish three major elements. First, these workplace conditions must have caused a negative or hostile environment. Secondly, the environment was the direct cause of your departure. Finally, another reasonable party would also feel that the situation was a hostile or discriminatory environment. As the employee, the burden of proof lies with you to prove all of these elements of constructive discharge and other employment law issues such as discrimination or retaliation.

Why this determination is key

When an employee voluntarily resigns from their position, they generally forego their entitlement to benefits such as unemployment payments. In the case of a constructive discharge, you may be able to retain your eligibility for these payments and other protections under the law.